Hosting Big Events. How Airbnb helps cities open their doors

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1 Hosting Big Events How Airbnb helps cities open their doors Big events are big business for destinations around the world. As event organizers and destination managers bid for, win and host events, they should consider home sharing as a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable approach to hosting. Airbnb has partnered with destinations on a variety of events over the years and looks forward to continuing to work with cities and organizers to help accommodate travelers. This report is a review of past partnerships, potential impacts, and future possibilities.

2 INTRODUCTION Big events like the Olympics, World Cup or major conventions represent significant development opportunities for cities, regions and countries. They drive economic development, promote local assets and inspire civic pride. However, they often require substantial investments in infrastructure that may not be necessary after the event is over. Today as event organizers seek to ensure better economic, social and environmental returns on those investments, innovative approaches to hosting are being tested. One such innovation that has the potential to improve the economic, social and environmental impacts of big events is the Sharing Economy. As a communitybased model that leverages existing resources within the destination, the Sharing Economy can lessen the top-down investments required while ensuring more residents benefit from local events. Accommodation capacity happens to be one of the greatest challenges for destinations there are rarely enough beds to accommodate all the visitors and Airbnb s community-based approach provides an innovative solution to that challenge.

3 AIRBNB AND BIG EVENTS Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world online or from a mobile phone. Whether a room for a night, an apartment for a week, or a house for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 35,000 cities and 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions. Airbnb has a long history with big events. In fact, our history began with one such event. In 2007 a prominent design conference led to full occupancy of all the hotel rooms in San Francisco. Airbnb founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia decided to offer up their home, along with breakfast and local hospitality, to a few visitors attending the event. This solved two important problems: Brian and Joe needed to pay their rent and conference attendees needed a safe and comfortable place to stay. What began in a living room has now evolved into a thriving business offering diverse accommodations from spare rooms to entire homes to houseboats and private islands in over 35,000 cities in 190 countries. Since that first conference, Airbnb has helped destinations accommodate guests for thousands of events worldwide. When traditional lodging options were at capacity or when they were far away from event venues, Airbnb hosts have opened their doors to help accommodate all visitors throughout the destination.

4 CASE STUDIES 2008 Democratic National Convention 2012 London Summer Olympics In 2008 when hundreds of thousands of attendees to the Democratic National Convention descended upon Denver, Colorado, the Mayor was considering opening up the public parks for attendees to sleep in. Airbnb launched its platform to connect locals with extra space in their homes to convention attendees who otherwise wouldn t have had a place to stay. The international media picked up on this novel solution, catapulting Airbnb into the global spotlight for the first time. The event also provided Airbnb s founders with an innovative source of funding for the startup company. By designing and selling boxes of breakfast cereal as collectors items during the Democratic and Republican Conventions, Airbnb raised its first round of funding $30,000 dollars. Just before the Olympics arrived in London, Airbnb organized an event to connect local hosts with government and Olympic authorities to learn how to best prepare for the Games. Airbnb s hosts were recognized as unofficial ambassadors of London and neighborhood concierges, as they would welcome thousands of travelers to their homes and neighborhoods every day of the Games. Hundreds of hosts turned up to learn about the events and logistics surrounding the Games, eager to disseminate those insights to their future guests. Representatives from the Cultural Office of the Mayor of London, Transport for London and the London Legacy Team provided information about venues in neighborhoods throughout London, Cultural Olympiad events occurring alongside the Games, a variety of transportation options for locals and visitors, and hotspots to avoid. Hosts were also given useful information from the presenters, customized neighborhood guidebooks for their guests, and transit maps. At the time, the London Olympics was the biggest event the Airbnb community had ever collectively helped host. Local residents opened their homes throughout all of London s boroughs, most notably in the redevelopment priority area of East London near the Olympic venues, where few hotels were located. Over 1800 hosts welcomed more than 9,700 guests from over 100 countries during the London summer Olympics. 86% of Airbnb guests traveled from outside of Great Britain, with the average guest staying in London for over a week. All of this translated into almost $4 million of income for London residents.

5 CASE STUDIES SXSW 2014 Brazil World Cup Airbnb has been a major host for South By Southwest attendees since In 2014 we hosted more attendees than ever before and went the extra mile to prepare local hosts and to welcome the visitors to Austin. We organized eight events to educate first time hosts about what to expect from SXSW attendees and held open office hours for one-on-one consultations. For guests, we prepared welcome bags with locally-made products and had 13 customer support agents on the ground to handle any urgent questions or issues. Over 2,500 hosts welcomed more than 11,200 guests from over 50 countries to Austin during SXSW in The number of guests who stayed in Airbnb properties during SXSW has consistently grown year over year, with a 50 percent growth over Roughly 16% of SXSW attendees stayed in Airbnb properties during the event. Austin residents earned almost $8 million by hosting guests during SXSW. In 2014 millions of visitors traveled throughout Brazil to watch and celebrate this global event. The local population was also very engaged in the event, not only as fans, but also by opening up their homes and providing hospitality to visitors. Home sharing proved to be a very popular accommodation option throughout the country for both international and domestic travelers. Airbnb worked with our local community to both grow the number of available accommodation options and prepare local hosts for their visitors. We also worked collaboratively with the Brazilian government to accommodate excess demand. For example, they requested we send a team to the host city Cuiabá to expand supply. One week before the event we were able to more than double the number of listings in Cuiabá to over 1,000. The number of Airbnb listings increased by more than 26,000 in the five months before the World Cup, making Airbnb the biggest hospitality company in Brazil. Airbnb reservations in Brazil during the World Cup generated more than $38.3 million in revenue for local hosts. Rocinha, Rio s most populated favela also engaged in home sharing, with 16 guests staying with Rocinha hosts, for an average of 9 nights each. The famous soccer player, Ronaldinho, even listed his home on Airbnb during the event.

6 IMPACTS Big events can have enormous positive impacts locally. New approaches to hosting events, like home sharing, can greatly improve these impacts in a variety of ways.

7 ECONOMIC BENEFITS Big events can require huge investments on the part of a destination. Critical transportation and events infrastructure are often expensive, but also necessary and beneficial long-term. However, accommodation infrastructure is not always a worthwhile long-term investment, as new lodging is often not fully utilized after the event. Home sharing leverages existing infrastructure homes to accommodate peak demand, allowing destinations to focus on the investments that are most needed. Host Benefits Hosts spend 55% of their Airbnb income on regular household expenses including rent and mortgage, bills and groceries. 55% Additionally, home sharing helps ensure the economic impact of these events are brought right to the front door of local residents. In the process, visitors are connected to a more diverse and affordable range of experiences, local households earn additional income, and spending is distributed throughout the destination among businesses and neighborhoods that might not have benefitted from tourism spending. Guest Benefits Airbnb guests typically stay longer (5 vs. 2.8 nights) and spend more than typical tourists ($980 vs $670). 5 NIGHTS 2.8 NIGHTS Neighborhood Benefits 50% of Airbnb guest spending is in the neighborhoods where they stayed. 50%

8 SOCIAL BENEFITS Big events bring people from different places and backgrounds together. They show off the diversity and hospitality of destinations and inspire local pride. Home sharing connects curious visitors with hospitable locals in meaningful exchanges that further build community, foster cultural exchange, and strengthen understanding. Not only does this expand horizons, but many hosts find that it deepens their connection to their neighbors and neighborhoods in the process. We get a lot of foreign guests and have had some wonderful conversations about how life is outside of the US. We ve made some great friends in Australia and Belgium and are planning trips to visit both. We ve also discussed the importance of pursuing a life purpose and finding what is meaningful. This has helped us both realize the importance of pursuing our art in a full time manner. [ W]e feel really lucky to have Airbnb in our lives. Not only does it allow us to live as artists, but we feel we ve truly met some great people. Airbnb Host We were initially hesitant about opening our place up to strangers, but Airbnb does such a great job of creating a positive and trustworthy sense of community. We have had a fabulous experience hosting so far. The experience of sharing what we love about our home and neighborhood has been very rewarding, and we are happy to continue sharing with the airbnb community. Airbnb Host

9 ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS The huge investments in infrastructure required to host big events are not only costly, but can also have significant environmental impacts. By helping residents share their homes, Airbnb promotes the efficient use of existing resources as well as a more environmentally sustainable way of traveling. This type of travel also results in a significant reduction in energy, water use and waste generation, and encourages sustainability awareness among both residents and visitors. Compared to traditional accommodations, an Airbnb guest night uses at least 60% less energy, at least 12% less water, and generates roughly a third of the waste.

10 Airbnb looks forward to furthering our collaboration with event organizers and destination managers around the world. If you re interested in learning more about partnership opportunities, please contact us.

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